Calgary man builds scale replica of The Bow building from 8,500 Lego pieces
Roy Nelson sells a scale replica of The Bow, Calgary’s iconic office tower, built from approximately 8,500 Lego pieces.
It is a massive one-meter-high construction that took him over five years.
Nelson is part of an adult Lego construction group that focuses on iconic Calgary buildings and said he was inspired by the challenge of the Bow Tower’s crescent shape.
“A big part of it is the Bow and Lego building that you wouldn’t think would go together at all. Lego is a very square and perpendicular product, and the Bow is the exact opposite. It’s not square,” he said. Nelson told CBC’s Russell. Bowers on Daybreak Alberta.
Nelson said he was struck by an image of The Bow against the horizon.
“I walked out of town hall and looked up at The Bow. It was like a moment I spent The Lego movie, where the characters just see the proportions of the pieces and how they might go together, “he says.” I had a flash on a particular Lego window piece and how I can combine that to create the Bow building. And that got me on that five-year adventure to create what I consider a giant, iconic Calgary artwork, almost. “
Nelson said Lego has come a long way and presented untold opportunities for complex projects.
“Lego is a medium that you can do so many different things with, and it’s very forgiving, you can make a mistake and take it apart easily. And when you’ve had enough you can take it apart and build something else,” he said. said.
“We all think of building these simple houses like children, usually multicolored, the colors are not aligned. But now the techniques that have been developed, the parts that have come out, you can do anything with it, you can build whatever you want. “
2000 pieces are windows
Nelson said the Bow Tower replica took about 8,500 Lego pieces, 2,000 of which are windows.
“Some pieces are easy to count, like glass windows. But there are a lot of pieces buried in there, little plates that connect things that are very difficult to estimate,” he said.
Nelson is an analyst with the Calgary Fire Department, so the project was carried out in his spare time.
“That was really the challenge. You stick to a plan, an idea and you keep trying,” he said.
“At first a lot of the journey was on ‘How do I get enough parts to even prototype it? “
“So there was that initial challenge of designing and prototyping, and then, ‘How many parts do I need? “And calculate the number of plates one by two that I need to build the thing and finish it.”
Nelson said as the project progressed he found himself noticing new architectural details on the building.
“You fall in love with an architecture and then you just start to notice the little details and decide if you can fit them into your model,” he said. “I remember being at a downtown wedding in a park, and during the wedding I was looking at the Bow building and realized that on the last level there was actually a skylight,” he said. he declared. “I’m like, ‘Oh, no, how am I going to fit the skylight into the building?'”
Nelson said one of the biggest tasks is translating the dimensions of an actual building into Lego dimensions and then finding the perfect Lego pieces.
“There was one piece in particular, a one-by-two brick Lego piece that I couldn’t get in glass at the time. And so I had to buy a whole bunch of plates to stack them up to make them. a bigger one, ”he mentioned. “And then, of course, halfway there, they took out this room.” So I was able to get them in quantity. And so I spent literally hours, you know, pushing through windows, putting a new room back in. “
Nelson said there is no shortage of Lego enthusiasts and clubs around Calgary. In addition to the group that focuses on Calgary architecture, he is part of two other groups, a Southern Alberta Lego User Group and the Calgary Lego Train Club.
He said they put on train shows – long tables with entire landscapes for trains to cross – and community shows. Currently, a group is working on a display to brighten up the empty windows of the New Horizons mall.
“One of the funniest things I love to do in shows is stand behind the audience and listen to their comments, and see the detail they see when they watch this, and the excitement.” , did he declare. “And then, of course, the kids running to our Lego displays… it certainly echoes the excitement we had as kids around Lego.
Nelson has two sons, aged 13 and 11, and says they have both helped him with this project over the years, in addition to having their own Lego interests.
“They have way too many Lego,” he laughs. “In fact, as a parent, one of the most satisfying things I’ve heard is when my son stepped on a piece of Lego and hurt himself – only because he finally understands why we want that. they pick it up. “
Meanwhile, with the five-year project over, Nelson said he couldn’t bear to take The Bow apart. He hopes to find a buyer for the piece and lists it for $ 4,000 on Facebook Marketplace. The materials are worth approximately $ 2,200.
The Lego creation is now on display until December 14 at the Brick Bin, a Lego store at 2906 Center St. NE
With files from Daybreak Alberta.